Way before she became the “Crowned Queen Of Quebec Blues” (whatever that means), Watson was a singing spirit with very little in the way of genre labels to describe exactly what she did.
Watson, who came to Montreal from Manchester, England, via London, Ontario, to study music at Concordia University, knew very little of the Blues when she played in bands that dabbled in jazz, rock, soul and pop. But names like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and Charley Patton were hardly in her musical vocabulary. When a burgeoning upstart blues label approached Watson about doing some recording for their label based on her soulful vocal prowess alone, the songstress jumped at the wonderful opportunity that in some unfortunate way got her pigeon-holed musically.
But on Jawbreaker, to quote Dylan, she “brings it all back home.”
She kicks off the set with the Nashville-tinged gospel testimony “Can’t Nobody” where she wails “Can’t nobody but God fill it up, can’t nobody but God.” On “Shine On” Watson takes it to church with Hammond B3 organ runs, declaring: “Oh shine to the Spirit we belong and though the road is dark and long your light will conquer and you will shine on.
A duet with Ben Racine called “A Little Bit More” is r’n’b at its best, while “Son Of A Gun” is Blues Boogie with a country undertone. The jazz of “Tootsie Roll Blues” has Watson crooning over a stand-up bass and the more than capable harmonica work of veteran Guy Belanger, with the racy lyrics of “You’re my tootsie roll daddy, taste just like a tootsie pop, how many licks to the center darlin’ till that sweet sugar drop.”
The 70s-ish folk guitar pop of “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” is haunting and heartbreaking.
Watson even manages to make visions of carnal knowledge on her ode to Montreal’s biggest culinary delicacy on “Smoked Meat”: “Now a vegetarian I am not, I like some meat in my chilli pot…”
Her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” rivals the original, and her take on the 1955 Ray Charles classic “Greenbacks” is more than adequate.
Watson comes of age when you just let her “sang!”
Rating = 8/10
– Sandy Duperval –
Montreal vocalist/d.j. Duperval returns with a 3-song e.p. that speaks of tragedy, loss, love and rebirth in 3 dance floor anthems. “Addicted with its Daft Punkish feel, but with an infectious house groove, it’s all about self-examination of Duperval’s demons with simple but irresistible keyboard lines.
She sings: “Ooh you’re a sweet mistake that I never want to undo” with a nice Chicago house-style beat to fuel the whole confession.
The classical synth strings intro. to “Take Me High” (2016), backed by the simple but effective bass line gets the party started right on the set’s 1st single.
Finally, the title track, which tells the all true tale of Duperval’s near death experience where ¾ of her body was burned internally from an antibiotic prescribed for a simple sinus infection, as well as the death of her mother and grandmother, is an inspirational dance gem that explores the human’s spirit of triumph over loss and tragedy. Get your dance shoes on!
Rating = 7/10